#SetTheVCR: January 24-30

Welcome to Monster Week at #SetTheVCR: We got a Wolf, a Resident Alien, a Boris Karloff Monster and the ugly rich creatures in Snowpiercer. Gonna be a scary yet delightful week on TV, get your G.I. Joe nightlight ready.

Monday, January 24

Pennyworth: Seasons 1 and 2 (Anytime / HBO Max)

The series, which aired for two seasons on EPIX, has been renewed for a third season on HBO Max, moving both seasons 1 & 2 with it.

Sammy Suggestion: Snowpiercer: Season 3 (9 p.m. / TNT)

For the first time since the world ended, a brighter future awaits beyond the train.

TNT’s Snowpiercer adaptation (Vanilla Ice’s favourite show: Too Cold!) returns for a third season. (Unless you’re in Canada which is ironic because we’ve a reputation for being a frozen dystopia. January 25 on Netflix Canada. Helpful if you ah…need to “backtrack” for a quick Season 2 recap.). “Season three picks up with Layton (Daveed Diggs) and his inner circle commanding a small 10 car “pirate train” in search of Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) and a possible warm location to restart civilization; while back on Snowpiercer, Mr. Wilford (Sean Bean) is consolidating power, awaiting Layton’s return.” The future continues to be derailed…I’m done now.

Tuesday, January 25

Hot Docs Podcast Festival is broadcasting from Toronto and available online worldwide from January 25-28. A freshtastic virtual event is Michael Lewis in Conversation with Ira Glass! How dope is that?

Charlamagne’s Tha God’s Honest Truth debuted September 17 on Comedy Central. Today the entire first season has been added to Crave.

Sammy Suggestion: Wolf LIke Me (Anytime / Peacock & Prime Video Canada)

When Mary’s universe collides with Gary and his 11-year-old daughter, Emma, all the signs tell her they’re meant to be in each other’s lives; but as their connection deepens, they grow more terrified of their respective baggage tearing them apart.

“Everyone brings their own set of baggage to a new relationship. Gary (Josh Gad) and Mary (Isla Fisher) are no different. Gary is an emotional wreck and struggles to provide for his daughter since the death of his wife. Mary has a secret she can’t bring herself to share with anyone. The universe brought these two together for a reason, they just need to keep following the signs.” That’s a rather ominous description coupled with the strange title: Wolf Life Me. I suspect over the 6 episodes this will reveal itself to be a genre-bending romantic dramedy. Let’s see where this goes and hmm…who is the wolf?

Wednesday, January 26

The Book Of Boba Fett: Chapter 5 (Anytime / Disney+)

No longer just a hired gun, Boba Fett reinvents himself on Tatooine alongside Fennec Shand.

Sammy Suggestion: Resident Alien: Season 2 (9PM / USA Network & SYFY & CTV SCI-FI CHANNEL)

An alien crash lands on Earth and must pass himself off as small-town human doctor Harry Vanderspeigle. Arriving with a secret mission to kill all humans, Harry starts off living a simple life…but things get a bit rocky when he’s roped into solving a local murder and realizes he needs to assimilate into his new world.

Alan Tudyk plays an extraterrestrial stranded in a small Colorado town in the darkly comic sci-fi drama Resident Alien. Think E.T. but with lots of sarcasm. That works for me! I was sad when Season 1 finished…that went by so fast. According to the “resident alien” attempting to master social cues: “Humans have a term for this: “Bad luck,” & “raw deal,” and “this is some bullshit.” This modern Mork & Mindy offers an ominous twist. Mork has been assigned to observe human behavior by Orson; that’s why he’s on Earth. In Resident Alien his nefarious mission is to kill all humans. Slight difference right? The problem was by the end of season 1 he was infected with humanity…turns out pizza is really tasty. Season 2 will pick up with the alien struggling with the moral dilemma of his “secret” mission which isn’t a secret anymore. (The Sheriff is the best character if a lousy cop. All his lines were gold.)

Thursday, January 27

Escape Room: Tournament Of Champions (Anytime / Prime Video Canada)

Six people unwillingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly uncovering what they have in common in order to survive.

Sammy Suggestion: Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster (Anytime / Shudder)

A documentary examining Boris Karloff’s illustrious 60-year career in the entertainment industry and his enduring legacy as one of the icons of 20th century popular culture.

The Universal Studios Monsters from the 1930s to the 1950s formed a seminal foundation to our modern horror movies (with dubious sci-fi contributions.). As did Hammer Films known for their Gothic horror and fantasy films made from the mid-1950s until the 1970s. Indeed their Frankenstein has a terrifying face and is more brutal than the iconic Boris Karloff performance which injected the monster with humanity. “Beginning just before his debut as Frankenstein’s creation, Boris Karloff: The Man Behind The Monster compellingly explores the life and legacy of a cinema legend, presenting a perceptive history of the genre he personified.” And yes no surprise Guillermo Del Toro is in this.

Friday, January 28

A Life in Ten Pictures: Muhammad Ali (Anytime / CBC Gem)

Muhammad Ali is one of the most photographed men in history. But can just a handful of photos uncover new truths about someone we think we know?

Sammy Suggestion: Janet Jackson: Part 1 (9PM / A&E & Lifetime)

The four-hour event, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Janet’s first album, Janet Jackson (1982), is set to simulcast on Lifetime and A&E, two of the flagship channels of the A+E Networks portfolio. With full, unprecedented access to the global icon, JANET JACKSON. is an intimate, honest and unfiltered look at her untold story. Producers Workerbee have been filming the incredible documentary for over three years and were granted exclusive

Janet Jackson has scored a 4 hour Last Dance. Filmed for over three years and featuring access to archival footage and Janet’s never before seen home videos, along with star-studded interviews including Q-Tip. Like Michael Janet has operated as a private celebrity; she is a popular mystery. And like Michael she has worked for decades; she first appeared on television as Penny on Good Times when she was 11. Since then she has of course continued to act and release a slew of hit records while operating in her brother’s giant shadow. Documentaries such as this succeed with intimacy; That’s The Way Love Goes. Though Janet is a producer so she’s retained some Control. Please Note: this Escapade airs over 2 nights; tonight is Part 1; tomorrow is Part 2. Same channel and time. Hopefully you remember to set the VCR twice; remember that the next time you say to me: What Have You Done For Me Lately?

Saturday, January 29

The Fallout (Anytime / Crave & HBO Max)

High schooler Vada navigates the emotional fallout she experiences in the wake of a school tragedy. Relationships with her family, friends and view of the world are forever altered.

Sammy Suggestion: Reminiscence (Anytime / Crave)

From the co-creator of Westworld, Lisa Joy. Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman) is a private investigator of the mind who helps his clients access lost memories. But when he takes on Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) as a client, a simple matter of lost and found becomes a dangerous obsession.

With Reminiscence Christopher Nolan’s sister-in-law has entered into the family business (plot-wise but also this is produced by Jonathan Nolan). This is opposite of Inception; rather Joy working as a writer and director presents a feature where memories are recovered. “Nick Bannister a private investigator of the mind, navigates the darkly alluring world of the past by helping his clients access lost memories. Living on the fringes of the sunken Miami coast, his life is forever changed when he takes on a new client, Mae. A simple matter of lost and found becomes a dangerous obsession. As Bannister fights to find the truth about Mae’s disappearance, he uncovers a violent conspiracy, and must ultimately answer the question: how far would you go to hold on to the ones you love?” (Please Note: for Americans this is on HBO Max tonight; it was added to Crave yesterday.)

Sunday, January 30

Atlanta: Seasons 1-2 (Anytime / Disney+ Canada)

Two cousins work through the Atlanta music scene in order to better their lives and the lives of their families. Donald Glover serves as Executive Producer, along with Paul Simms, Dianne McGunigle and Stephen Glover.

Sammy Suggestion: The NFL Conference Championships (6pm & 9:30PM/ Fox)

The Bengals take on the Chiefs followed by the 49ers vs the LA Rams.

Welcome to the NFL Conference Championships…it’s the final 4 teams. Tonight: 2 teams will be eliminated; 2 teams will go onto the Super Bowl. This year it’s held on Sunday, February 13 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Man by extending the regular season and having the Super Bowl go into mid-February it’s surreal how much oxygen and especially TV ratings the NFL consumes. There might be something else on TV tonight but what’s the use? Plus the games on Saturday January 22 were stunners while the 23rd’s games were dynamic: Titans and Packers both lost. At home. Brady’s out but Mahomes is in. So anything can and will happen; it’s one of those years. The AFC game: Bengals at Chiefs, 3 p.m. on CBS. The NFC game: 49ers at Rams, 6:30 p.m. on FOX. Fewest mistakes wins!


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

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